Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Surprises and Disappointments

(I know, you're loving the creativity of the title, right? What can I say...when the genius strikes, you go with it.)

I'm going with a tie for the player who has surprised me most - one you've all probably heard of by now and one you may not have...

- Alexander Semin (That's Seh-min, ladies - no gutterminds!): I think the word is out that we now have two guys named Alex here in the District that can light the lamp.

When the Caps first drafted him, the word was that he had some of the best hands in the league. So why is he a surprise? Because when he finally arrived in DC back in 2003-04, he was nothing less than a complete disappointment. He racked up just 10 goals and 12 assists in 52 games that first year, and was rumored to be moody and standoffish in the locker room.

2 years and 180 degrees later, we have a different Alex altogether. He's noticeably happier here than he was a few years ago and is slowly but surely learning English (I think...). It can't hurt that he has struck up a friendship with Ovechkin, one of the happiest guys you will meet, and the two are constantly together. More importantly, he's proving to be a true scoring threat, scoring 29 goals and 22 assists through only 46 games. In January alone he already has 5 multi-goal games...and we've still got one match left. Anyone who has seen him at all knows he has some sick moves and an absolutely wicked shot, and honestly I never get tired of watching him...even when he's diving. :)

Check out the skillz...and against Atlanta, too.
That makes it a million times better :)

- Boyd Gordon: I'm going out on a limb here and am going to assume that very few people have actually heard of Gordon. He's not a flashy goal-scorer or a big hitter - he's a quiet defensive forward who has developed into a great penalty killer and second or third line center. When the official roster came out to start the season, I'll admit I was surprised to see Gordo's name on the list. He'd played parts of a few seasons with the Caps over the past few years but had never stood out. This year, however, he's really turned himself into someone worth watching, if only for the little things he does every night. He's always in great position and can create the odd-man shorthanded rush better than anyone I've seen in a while. Gordo may not be exciting in the truest sense of the word, but he's yet to have a bad night and that in itself is rare.

I have a few disappointments this year, but I don't want to trade anyone - at least not yet. For the first time in a very long time, or possibly the first time ever, I genuinely love every single one of my guys. It's not a puck bunny thing, I don't just think they're cute - I love the chemistry in the room and the work ethic that each and every one of them brings to the ice. It's a young group of guys and I'd like to see them grow for another year before we start shipping them out, playoffs or no playoffs.

That being said, I have found myself disappointed in my Benny - Ben Clymer to the rest of you. Last year Clymer had a career year and was rewarded with a contract extension in the offseason. However, at the beginning of the year the coaching staff tried an experiment putting Clymer back on the blue line. He was originally drafted as a defenseman but was moved up to forward when he arrived in Tampa. The experiment, needless to say, was unsuccessful and he was returned to the wing; but Clymer has yet to regain his form from last year with only 6 goals, and has the worst +/- on the team. He tends to follow up a good play with a horrific one and vice versa (like so many others on my team).

Still, I'm not giving up on Clymer just yet. He's great at standing up for his teammates and plays much bigger than he actually is, and he's clearly a great locker room guy. Let's just say he's got 30+ games to make me change my mind...after that, we'll see what happens.

As promised, here's video of Olie being his badass self (different weekly topic, but since I finally got YouTube working I figured I should take advantage of it!):


Margee said...

Kolzig is awesome! Nothing pleases me more than a goalie fight. And I wouldn't mess with Olie.

CapsChick said...

Oddly enough, I think Olie's only been in one actual goalie fight, if you can call it that - there was a brawl-filled game between the Caps and Bruins a few years ago. He and Byron Dafoe "fought" ... but not really (they're best friends and actually seemed to be laughing more than punching).

But no, I wouldn't mess with Olie either :)